15 in a Billion

With 1.4 billion citizens, mainland China is the world's most populous country—and home to one in five women on our planet, from rice farmers to multimillionaires. Photographer Kate Peters and writer Abigail Haworth capture a portrait of a nation in dramatic flux through 15 women.

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fashion designer
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    Fashion Designer

    Helen Lee, 36

    Born and bred in China's fashionable second city of Shanghai, designer Lee has her own label and works as a spokeswoman for the up-and-coming local fashion industry. Lee studied fashion in Japan before returning in 2002 to put a Chinese spin on her minimalist designs, and she's built up a following through word of mouth. "Designers are gaining more confidence as China grows in world importance and customers reject Western brands in favor of homegrown talent," she says.

    Kate Peters
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